Yatesville Lake, Kentucky, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - South - Kentucky - Appalachians -

Also known as:  Yatesville Lake State Park

The newest star in the Kentucky Appalachians region is Yatesville Lake. Very young as lakes go, Yatesville Lake was created in 1991 when the US Army Corps of Engineers dammed Blaine Creek, a tributary of Big Sandy River for flood control and storm water management. From this very utilitarian beginning, one of eastern Kentucky’s largest and best recreational lakes was born. By the time the lake opened to the public in 1992, the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources had already stocked the lake with black bass, channel catfish, largemouth bass, crappie and bluegill. A state park was in the works, and the new lake took off from the starting line already bounds ahead of many other lakes. Its popularity continues to grow.

The 2,200+ acres of water stretch into a number of coves, bays and branches as it meanders along the former course of Blaine Creek. A Project Information Center located near the dam gives information on the technical details of the project and the particulars of the lake itself. A few private properties share the view of the 93-mile shoreline with Yatesville Lake State Park, all set back above any high water danger. The gently rolling hillsides are heavily forested, leaving a lakeside view of near-wilderness shoreline and a peaceful feeling of utter solitude on much of the lake.

Boating is a big attraction near the marina at Yatesville Lake, where boaters can water ski, jet ski or enjoy sailing, tubing, windsurfing and sail boarding. The small marina rents pontoons and small flat-bottom boats called ‘jon boats’ for fishing. There are 140 boat slips for rent, and many boat owners from nearby large cities keep their boats here most of the summer. A boat ramp is located at the marina and at the campground. Landlubbers can fish from the ADA-compliant fishing jetty located near the marina. So good is the largemouth bass fishing that tournaments are regularly scheduled here each summer. The pontoons are popular for exploring the coves, while canoes and kayaks are idea for paddling silently into narrow inlets to enjoy wildlife.

Yatesville Lake State Park encompasses much of the eastern end of the lake near the dam. The campground is well-planned to encourage all kinds of camping experiences. The park includes several ‘double’ RV sites where two families can camp together. The majority of campsites have electricity, with drinking water, rest rooms, showers, laundry and dump station. A playground, volleyball court, picnic tables, grills and a picnic pavilion are also provided. Sixteen boat-in campsites are only accessible by water, while four sites can accommodate only hike-in campers. These sites are in great demand for campers and paddlers who crave seclusion. None of these sites have electricity, although necessary facilities are not far away. A swimming beach with showers and rest rooms and a snack bar are located near the marina. The state park also has several trail systems geared to every type of hiker.

The Mary Ingle Trail System is located near the marina and consists of six separate trail loops totaling 2.5 miles. One is an ADA-compliant interpretive nature trail, two are exercise paths, and three are wooded and somewhat rugged. The Pleasant Ridge Trail System consists of five separate trails winding through the campground area. The most extensive trail, the Multi-Purpose Trail, covers over 20 miles and is open to mountain biking, hiking, backpacking and horseback riding. These trails are maintained by the Lawrence County Saddle Club, located near the campground. All roads in the park are also available for bicycling and walking. The entire area is popular for bird watching, and birding clubs often schedule outings here.

Eagle Ridge Golf Course adjoins Yatesville Lake State Park and is considered one of the most affordable golf courses in the area. A part of the state park system, the golf course is very popular, and local vacation rentals usually advertise based ion their proximity to the facility. The nearest town to Yatesville Lake is Louisa, less than 10 miles east of the state park. The old town of Louisa provides groceries, gas, supplies, restaurants, motels and small-store shopping. Country music fans will appreciate a visit to the Kentucky Pavilion at Falls Creek just north of Louisa on Country Music Highway (US 23). The Pavilion holds a huge collection of country music memorabilia, from Minnie Pearl’s famous hat-complete with price tag- to Elvis Presley’s Exxon gas card. The Pavilion isn’t just a Welcome Center and a museum; budding music acts from rock to country music perform in the courtyard.

Less than an hour’s drive from Yatesville Lake are Grayson and Ashland, KY and Huntington, WV. Charleston, WV is an hour-and a half and Lexington, KY two-and-a-half hours away. This makes Yatesville Lake convenient for a weekend getaway. Real estate is available in the area around Yatesville Lake. New housing is being built nearby and cabins, guest stays and bed & breakfasts in the area make this eastern Kentucky’s easiest relaxation and resort area. Many rental cabins are available along Blaine Creek, with some luxury new homes available for rent overlooking Yatesville Lake. So, bring the boat if you have one (or rent a pontoon if you don’t), and pack up the kids for a week at Yatesville Lake. You’ll soon discover just how beautiful Kentucky’s Appalachian Mountains and its lakescapes are.

Things to do at Yatesville Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Jet Skiing
  • Water Skiing
  • Tubing
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • State Park
  • Museum
  • Playground
  • Shopping

Fish species found at Yatesville Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Catfish
  • Channel Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Sunfish

Yatesville Lake Photo Gallery

Yatesville Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Surface Area: 2,240 acres

Shoreline Length: 94 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 630 feet

Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 624 feet

Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 645 feet

Average Depth: 18 feet

Maximum Depth: 60 feet

Water Volume: 63,000 acre-feet

Drainage Area: 208 sq. miles

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Trophic State | LakeLubbers

Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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Completion Year | LakeLubbers

This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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Water Volume | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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Average Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


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Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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Surface Area | LakeLubbers

This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

"Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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Lake Type | LakeLubbers

There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

- A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

- A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

- A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

"Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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